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PostPosted: 03 Nov 2015, 03:36 
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BRS wrote:
The sequence in here I like best is at 3:34 or so, quick feet to move around the corner and then a very pretty slow loop. Good decision not to try to power the ball there, and you finished off the next ball.

Of topic a bit, are they ever going to make orange poly balls? I can hardly see the ball in my own video because I painted the garage walls white. Against off-white backgrounds like this one an orange ball would show up so much better.


Yeah at work I often lose track of the ball. Same color as the building. I did see a couple of people use markers to change the color. It's an idea. I'm still using cell balls with my ball machine. I don't think the poly will even work without some modifications.


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PostPosted: 03 Nov 2015, 04:08 
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Want me to "rip" into you?

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PostPosted: 03 Nov 2015, 04:53 
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You should say yes to NL. Remember what brett says -- 'sugarcoating is dishonest and will not help (whoever) improve.

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PostPosted: 03 Nov 2015, 06:31 
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NextLevel wrote:
Want me to "rip" into you?


Go for it. :up:

I went through each point last night and took notes, I would love to hear more feedback.


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PostPosted: 03 Nov 2015, 06:41 
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Here are things I think you could work on - I will list them not in the order they will improve your game, but in the order they show up in the point.

1. Your pendulum serves are far more advanced than your loop and your ability to read spin is, so you struggle to attack behind your serve. This problem is not as uncommon as you might think - I sometimes have it and I have seen 2300-level players have it. Learn to serve with less spin while make it appear that you are adding spin, or just serve a straight ball so you can read what the opponent did to the ball. If a ball is straight and low with not so much spin, it is easy to tell what the opponent did if you know how to overpower a no-spin ball. You can also know where the main spin axis is more easily and avoid it by looping around the side of the ball - that will give you more success. That said, it seems you have a bigger problem attacking behind the pendulum than behind your backhand serves - that might mean that your loop naturally hits one side of the racket and unaturally hits the other. But your backhand serve is also has less sidespin on it (has more pure backspin) so it is easier to read what comes back.

2. You receive with your backhand on your forehand side and do a flat flick or a push. The forehand racket angle for returning reverse type serves (backhand serve or tomahawk) is initially difficult but critical to learn as using the backhand on the forehand side will open you up to transition strategies that move you over to the forehand side and then to the backhand side. The key to mastering the short forehand is table distance and being able to take one step into the table so you can get your elbow over the table and closer to the ball. This lets you control the stroke better and make the right racket angle with your hand more easily (you need to bend back the wrist towards your forehand a little in a relaxed manner for most but not all pushes).


3. Stop backing up after you return the serve or after you serve! This is especially important if your opponent is not attacking the ball or playing fast balls. Wait at the table so you can easily put away the next ball. If you feel the need to back up this often, work on your blocking game. You should hold the table unless your opponent forces you to yield.

4. Racket head speed is king. IT's one of the reasons why I keep my students on ALL blades and rubbers (Dawei XP 2008) for as long as I can. I want them to learn to produce their own spin before going on to rubbers that basically loop for you. My guess is that you are getting more out of your rubber than your stroke deserves and cannot control over overpower certain kinds of spin with your current stroke. You need to rebuild your loop by start to loop slowly but feeling the grip of the rubber on the ball. Since your robot doesn't produce no spin, pick a light backspin level and have the robot shoot the ball into the table so that the table kills the spin. Then loop that ball and watch how much spin you can get on it. Try to spin it by hitting different points on the ball and get different effects. Try to loop it by playing over the ball as much as possible - it's hard to get much better if you can't loop by playing over the ball as this is required to some degree to loop or active block topspin balls close to the table. Also loop on the back on the side. Try to do this with slow brush, heavy brush and thick brush, but ALWAYS brush.

With a good loop (or if you think you already have one), you should after seeing how the ball is spinning (and you should read this sometimes based on how the ball is coming at you in the air), figure out where to make contact with the ball and loop it. If you can't do this, just guess. If the ball is high enough, just smash carefully. And if the ball lacks spin, add spin by contacting the back if the ball is low and adding spin, or contacting over the ball if it is high - do not lift no spin balls!

5. If you can't loop the third ball, you must loop the 5th ball or try to set up a way for you to do so. The two main ways are a fast push to the wide backhand and to push with less spin or sidespin (or to fake a push and bump the ball slightly). The goal is to get a popup so that you can attack the next ball decisively.

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PostPosted: 03 Nov 2015, 07:54 
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NextLevel wrote:
Here are things I think you could work on - I will list them not in the order they will improve your game, but in the order they show up in the point.

1. Your pendulum serves are far more advanced than your loop and your ability to read spin is, so you struggle to attack behind your serve. This problem is not as uncommon as you might think - I sometimes have it and I have seen 2300-level players have it. Learn to serve with less spin while make it appear that you are adding spin, or just serve a straight ball so you can read what the opponent did to the ball. If a ball is straight and low with not so much spin, it is easy to tell what the opponent did if you know how to overpower a no-spin ball. You can also know where the main spin axis is more easily and avoid it by looping around the side of the ball - that will give you more success. That said, it seems you have a bigger problem attacking behind the pendulum than behind your backhand serves - that might mean that your loop naturally hits one side of the racket and unaturally hits the other. But your backhand serve is also has less sidespin on it (has more pure backspin) so it is easier to read what comes back.


The pendulum is really new to me and I'm still working out the 3rd ball attack. What's remarkable is my regular partner (who I faced here) actually chops the top spin ball. He's the first person I've seen do it and yea, it gives me problems - in fact I was shocked it was so low and with so much backspin (twice!). I will keep this in mind in matches that 'matter' more (do any really matter at my level?!?!).

NextLevel wrote:
2. You receive with your backhand on your forehand side and do a flat flick or a push. The forehand racket angle for returning reverse type serves (backhand serve or tomahawk) is initially difficult but critical to learn as using the backhand on the forehand side will open you up to transition strategies that move you over to the forehand side and then to the backhand side. The key to mastering the short forehand is table distance and being able to take one step into the table so you can get your elbow over the table and closer to the ball. This lets you control the stroke better and make the right racket angle with your hand more easily (you need to bend back the wrist towards your forehand a little in a relaxed manner for most but not all pushes).


Yes I agree. My hip pain is the worst when I try and move my foot in and then back out. It's very tough for me right now and that's why the exercises are so important. My buddy has picked up on this and pretty much only serves to my forehand short. Ugh.

NextLevel wrote:
3. Stop backing up after you return the serve or after you serve! This is especially important if your opponent is not attacking the ball or playing fast balls. Wait at the table so you can easily put away the next ball. If you feel the need to back up this often, work on your blocking game. You should hold the table unless your opponent forces you to yield.


Interesting. I've never been very good at playing right on the table. I'm not sure how to fix this one very easily.

NextLevel wrote:
4. Racket head speed is king. IT's one of the reasons why I keep my students on ALL blades and rubbers (Dawei XP 2008) for as long as I can. I want them to learn to produce their own spin before going on to rubbers that basically loop for you. My guess is that you are getting more out of your rubber than your stroke deserves and cannot control over overpower certain kinds of spin with your current stroke. You need to rebuild your loop by start to loop slowly but feeling the grip of the rubber on the ball. Since your robot doesn't produce no spin, pick a light backspin level and have the robot shoot the ball into the table so that the table kills the spin. Then loop that ball and watch how much spin you can get on it. Try to spin it by hitting different points on the ball and get different effects. Try to loop it by playing over the ball as much as possible - it's hard to get much better if you can't loop by playing over the ball as this is required to some degree to loop or active block topspin balls close to the table. Also loop on the back on the side. Try to do this with slow brush, heavy brush and thick brush, but ALWAYS brush.

With a good loop (or if you think you already have one), you should after seeing how the ball is spinning (and you should read this sometimes based on how the ball is coming at you in the air), figure out where to make contact with the ball and loop it. If you can't do this, just guess. If the ball is high enough, just smash carefully. And if the ball lacks spin, add spin by contacting the back if the ball is low and adding spin, or contacting over the ball if it is high - do not lift no spin balls!


This is very much a problem of mine...bat speed? Hah, I need to actually make solid contact with the ball! I'm actually working on the very start of Brett's forehand loop series right now. Drop the ball and loop it. I'm doing this nightly right now. For what it's worth, the forehand loop actually feels a little better than it was a week ago. I am really trying to make a habit of watching the ball hit the paddle on the forehand.
What I really don't know how to do is how to practice producing more speed. Mental block of some sort happening here.

NextLevel wrote:
5. If you can't loop the third ball, you must loop the 5th ball or try to set up a way for you to do so. The two main ways are a fast push to the wide backhand and to push with less spin or sidespin (or to fake a push and bump the ball slightly). The goal is to get a popup so that you can attack the next ball decisively.


The only 5th ball plan I have is short push to forehand -> deep push to backhand and then loop the hopefully weaker response.


Thanks for the response, You've given me more to think about. I think my next step is to practice the forehand loop more and more until it looks right. I'll make some video of my practice for the world to pick apart. The funny part is that my forehand is much more solid than it was...but as usual, move up in skill and it turns back into a weakness.


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PostPosted: 03 Nov 2015, 09:10 
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If you are doing the topspin off drop, then just start slowly and always remember to look for a light grippy contact at the start that emphasizes spin contact. As you go faster and harder, always look for that grippy contact. Even when swinging fast, look for that grippy contact. If you stop feeling that grip and your ball is not spinning, you are swinging too fast and flat. Always feel as if you are playing over the ball no matter where on the ball you make initial contact. Record yourself and watch for feedback as much as reasonably possible.

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PostPosted: 04 Nov 2015, 13:37 
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The backhand loop was on today! That is all :clap:


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PostPosted: 10 Nov 2015, 12:57 
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I used my ears today...

With my backhand loop I heard the distinct sound of carbon. It made me think about what NL said about a thin brush...that certainly was not a thin brush. Maybe the fast carbon blade will train my ears to practice better.

Also Brett reviewed some of my practice and showed me that my forehand stroke is a little too long. End up too high. Now if I could just get over this mini cold.


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PostPosted: 13 Nov 2015, 02:11 
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For the first time in a few months I played in a "league" tourney yesterday. Lots of people. Best of 3 games. I played about 10 matches.
Some notes: All of these lower players tend to hit the ball very hard, but right at my head! They respond to heavy top spin with crazy flat hitting power and almost always an error. Some of my serves were handled rather well by nearly everyone I played. Some of the higher level players look to have the same serve - looks like the club as a whole has those figured out.

Except me. I still have lots of trouble against heavy side spin serves - penhold leftie serves specifically. Well, I had less trouble last night. This one guy who ended up serving me off the last two times I've played him - I actually handled the serve and he moved on to other serves...but wow I had no game plan past return of serve. Very passive after that. I was caught watching my return! Baby steps I suppose. So lost 11-9, 11-9. Not that bad.

The other challenging player was also a penhold leftie and was in the higher division. I was doing rather well against him until two things occurred:
1. he started doing heavy side spin serves deep
2. My lower legs started cramping up
Disaster came swiftly! He served a few which flew off the table - and then a couple which went into the net. Finally I realized - one is top side and one is back side spin. He then gave me a backspin and I dumped it into the net. I thought to myself "here comes the top spin" and I was actually able to see it! I returned low and he dumped the 3rd ball in the net. I still lost but at that moment I had learned something there. Since it was just a best of 3 - and I only saw 2 games, who knows what a best of 5 would have looked like there. I was able to make points on my own serve.

I played plenty of people who are a little lower level than me but...
I feel like I've gained confidence. Since it's best of 3, game 1 mattered a lot and I did not give up that first game very often. I had a few 10-10 games in game 1 as a result of poorly returning the serves initially. I was able to adjust my return to their serves after only 4-5 serves. This let me win those games out, even if I had to play a little catch up. Then the second game then was much easier.


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PostPosted: 13 Nov 2015, 04:23 
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TT in general is really about reading the ball and figuring out the right stroke. With Inverted, you have more strokes to learn and more contact points, but the reward is more ball control using spin.

What you will realize as you get better is that many of the serves troubling you now can be overpowered with fast wrist speed and strong brush. It's when the servers have truly heavy serves or more spin variation that things get tricky.

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PostPosted: 13 Nov 2015, 04:57 
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NextLevel wrote:
TT in general is really about reading the ball and figuring out the right stroke. With Inverted, you have more strokes to learn and more contact points, but the reward is more ball control using spin.

What you will realize as you get better is that many of the serves troubling you now can be overpowered with fast wrist speed and strong brush. It's when the servers have truly heavy serves or more spin variation that things get tricky.


This is true. I can overpower with spin on the forehand MUCH better than previously. I played a guy who I had played one time previously in March and I lost once he figured out a serve that troubled me. I had no such problems last night - it came down to being able to read it and then use my own spin to 'overpower' it.

In March it was a close match but last night my quality was just higher than his, probably from nearly every shot. That showed real progress to me.

The other guy I played had some real heavy stuff and he had a nice variation on it. He also blocked the contact (older Chinese guy).

One other thing that I had success with was blocking. While it isn't the plan of an attacking player to be blocking all of the time, there is time where it is really useful and gains that extra point or two. Getting back into a rally from a 3rd ball attack is key. It's all part of returning better. If you return better, you get a more spinny loop and a less smash attack - from there you can block this spinny loop (or more) and continue on with the rally. I see this in the pros all the time. Down the line block from a inside-out forehand loop open up being the most flashy example.


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PostPosted: 24 Nov 2015, 14:06 
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Just a little update. I've been sick with a cold lately and still am fighting it off.

I've swapped sides...forehand now is the Tenergy 05FX. Barracuda on the backhand.

As usual my backhand is progressing better than my forehand. I feel the extra dwell time with the softer sponge is helping me with the forehand. If anything it seems to make looping backspin easier.

I'm really working to make my forehand loop be a more relaxed stroke. NL had a great point about not worrying about getting the ball on the table at first. I do that on serves, why not other shots! I'm still struggling with the paddle angle. Brett also corrected a flaw in my stroke, I'm able to fix it in practice but in matches it still comes out.

So my forehand loop continues to progress
1. Ball machine, smooth relaxed strokes. Not worrying about placement, worrying more about getting the whip action.
2. Working on my legs and torso twisting. This is something I've never been good at and it only becomes more obvious with the forehand loop.
3. Looping backspin practice also. Looping with a high arc and lots of spin (back of ball) and looping for more power (brushing higher up on the ball) - this is where the Tenergy side really shows a nice advantage.

In practice matches I've hit a few real bomb forehands. Nice and smooth, no muscle tension.

Next is the backhand. It's really coming along. The loop off of backspin has many fewer errors than in the past. The more flat counter hit is still a work in progress. I'd like to think it's improving, but I'm learning these things take a lot of time.

I played a few practice matches today, losing the first one, but winning the next vs the same person. It was obvious to me that my backhand needed to be warmed up much more before an 'important' match.

Check out this crazy video, which I cannot understand a word of but I found lots of really good ideas from, plus the dude throws a fireball. Go Ryu?!


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PostPosted: 25 Nov 2015, 02:44 
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So I'm going to open this question...

All around blade with good dwell time without a whole lot of vibration? I'd like it to be on the lighter side. Another problem I have is the handle. I really like the Timo Boll ALC handle. I almost feel like I'm limited to the TB line up.

With rubbers I'm planning on tenergy FX line, mostly for the durability. All of my other equipment seems to come apart sooner. I suspect it's the dry Vegas air. However if it's cheaper I'm up for other options there.


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PostPosted: 16 Dec 2015, 15:10 
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Go, Wilkinru! Keep taking those trophies, champ!

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